Boomkat Product Review:
Five years in the making, The Balky Mule's bedroom opus The Length Of The Rail is exclusively the handiwork of one man. From its performance right down to the recording and mixing, the whole affair was single-handedly undertaken by Melbourne resident Sam Jones, whose been the target of Robert Wyatt comparisons and a heap of praise thanks to this long in-the-making album. The idiosyncratic vocal delivery evokes Syd Barrett, particularly on early album highlight 'Jisaboke', and in a not unrealted fashion, the fragmentary nature of the album - darting between malfunctioning electronic contraptions (put to excellent use on 'Illuminated Numbers' and potting shed acoustics - isn't too far away from Sam And The Plants. Elsewhere, 'Range' is a jaunty Ray Davies-esque number with pots and pans percussion and out of place, little-boy-lost exclamations of "Baby, I need your loving". An interesting alternative to troubadour convention, Sam Jones' long-incubating debut is a breath of fresh air, particularly if you're favourably disposed towards singer-songwriting that's delivered with a measure of eccentric faffing about.